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In this installment of Drawing Vector Graphics, Von Glitschka demystifies the pattern design process, explaining tessellations (mathematical tiles that lie at the heart of patterns) and visiting the various methods of creating new patterns. He shows how to build repeating patterns with Illustrator's pattern tools and pattern brushes, and incorporate patterns into your design. The course also features patterns from some of the industry's most inspiring designers.
- Establishing the bounding box for your tile
- Drawing your design
- Creating a pattern swatch
- Refining art with the Pattern tool
- Saving your design
- Creating a pattern brush
- Using your pattern in designs
Skill Level Intermediate
In this movie, I want to show you a somewhat unorthodox way of creating a vector repeat pattern. I'll admit I stumbled upon this while creating a pattern for this course. It involves the use of a brush texture and a clipping mask to facilitate the use of my art work in the patterned tool. Let me show you how I did it. When I began working on this pattern design, it started with my rough sketch but as I was drawing it out I felt the spacing needed to be improved.
And so you can see how I've moved my art elements around and they don't exactly line up with the underneath sketch because I've moved 'em. And that's okay. That's part of the process of refining and improving your design at each stage as you move forward and you want to do that. You want to improve it and make it look better. So, when it came to the base pattern art, to create the pattern, this is what the coloring looked like. Now, I like the coloring but when I looked at this I felt like it was just too clean and too perfect.
And that's where an idea hit me, I thought about how I initially built it, and it was offset, and it's this little offset that kind of sparked the idea. I kind of like the way this offset looked, and so that's what set me forward to try something. Now, I want to show you kind of what I discovered when I did that, and this is all part of the exploration process. It's all about, you know, not being afraid to try new things because in the process of doing so you're going to discover things.
So, in this case, I just took my, all my artwork, I selected it, and I cloned it, command c, command f. And that just makes a copy of the exact same art on top. Once I had that, what I'm going to do now, is I'm going to tell the fill on everything to be nothing, and then on the Stroke, I'm going to colorize this Stroke. We'll go ahead and colorize it white. And, we're going to make sure it's at one point. And we want to make sure Rounding is turned on, right there.
And so now you can see how this artwork has this white line that's exact copy of the base art, but I'm not going to leave it there. I want to zoom in and kind of control where exactly I'm going to position that. And I'm going to go ahead and reselect just the white. And I'm going to just shift it down a little. And I think that's probably going to be good right about there. And now you can see the aesthetic I'm slowly getting, just because I shifted it.
I think that's a lot more interesting, I'm going to do that again. So I'm going to select the white and I'm going to clone this but in this case, I'm going to go ahead and color this one a brownish color, so we'll use try this color for this line. And I think that looks pretty good, and we're going to shift this kind in the opposite direction just to offset it a bit and create some interest in, in this design. So we're going to take this and we'll go ahead and bring it up here and shift it right about, right about there.
I think that looks pretty good. And when we zoom out, you can see that it's kind of looking a little busy now, so this is why I'm going to play with opacity and introduce some brush patterns. And in my drawing vector graphics color and detail course I go over Brush patterns in more in depth, so if you want to know more about that and how to use them you can check that out, but in this case I'm going to select the white line and we're going to go to the brushes palate and I'm going to use this brush right here which is just a simple pencil sketch line and we're going to apply that to this artwork.
And when we do that, if I zoom in, you can see how it's taken that line and it's given it a hand-drawn feel. And right now it's at one point. I think it's a little too thick. So we're going to go to .75 and I think that'll look better. Yeah, that looks really good. And we're going to do the same thing on the dark brown now. And, we'll apply it with this brush. And once again, I think we're going to go to .75 on that.
And the white I don't mind being 100% strength in terms of its value, it doesn't need any opacity. But I think on the darker one, we're going to go ahead and go to the transparency palate. And we're going to set it to multiply and we're going to knock down the value to about 30% opacity, and you can see how it's interacting with the art and it's more subtle and I think this works better overall. So you can see just how cool this design has become just by experimenting a little.
And once again, there's something I kind of stumbled upon. Well, how do you go from here to making it a working tile? I mean, this would be a lot of work to expand all of these and trim the artwork and I really don't want to spend that much time doing it. Well, I'm going to show you kind of a quick and dirty way that you can accomplish that. So we're going to select our background tile shape and we're going to clone that. And that's going to bring it to the front. And we're going to make sure that this shape has no fill and no stroke.
We'll select our tile artwork which is the two outlines and the base art of the leaves, and now we're going to mask this. And to mask it, you can just go up to object, pull down the clipping mask and make, you can see I have an F key setup, so I can just hit F1 once I have 'em selected, and it will mask our artwork into that shape and this essentially gives us what we need to create or repeat from in the pattern tool and with that we can select this and we can drag it over and drop it into the swatches palette.
Go into the pattern tool now, and you can see how there is this big gap in between the repeats. Now, the reason why that is, is because our artwork is actually masked up into this area. If we go to key line view, you can see how it's taking into consideration the artwork not shown in the mask, but that's okay. I'm going to show you how to fix it now. We're going to click on the Tile tool. We'll go ahead and replicate this, so it fills the entire background.
You want to select the Tile tool here, and you can see how it gives you access to that. Let's zoom in so we can make sure we're snapping accurately here. So we click on the tile tool, it gives you access to the tile. We'll drag it down, and we'll snap it to the edge of our mass shape right there, and we're going to drag the bottom up, and we're going to snap that to the bottom edge. And I call this an unorthodox way cause you can see the beach ball coming up because it's processing a lot of information since all of this is massed into a shape.
So on a faster computer this is obviously going to go a little faster, and it's not the perfect way, but it's a great way to beta test. And then if everything looks great, then you can go ahead and build it in a cleaner format, so you're not dealing with a bunch of mass shapes. So, you can see how I pulled in and snapped it to the existing bounding box, and if I zoom out now, you can see how that pattern Is going to look. And that looks pretty cool. And if I dim the repeat, you'll now be able to see how the tile associates with the complete repeat.
And we're going to have fun with this name. We'll name it "Leaf me alone." And we're going to go back to the art board by double-clicking on the background, that'll exit us out of the Pattern tool back to the art board and we're going to beta test this fill now. So we'll select this shape and we'll fill it with our new color, our new pattern fill. And you can see how that works. If we go to the appearance panel, we can add another fill color to this and on that fill color, we can select this color and we can change the tint to a lighter shade.
To kind of align with what we originally had and that's how you can use that type of pattern fill using a brush pattern, using mass, in order to at least beta test it. Now I would never suggest using it as is for a publication, like providing this art to use as the background in some print collateral piece because, more than likely, you're going to run into some production issues, so it's better to build it clean. But if you compare this with just a really clean vector art, it's obvious which one has more interest.
Which one is more intriguing in terms of the, the final pattern design. So, this is one way you can use these features. And the creative process at its very heart is an exploratory one and at each stage of the project from drawing it out and building it, you want to scrutinize your work and look for ways you can improve it. And so as you design be open to changes in your creative course because at times, they'll lead to better solutions than you originally thought.